NEWS
Rose gold and platinum Samsung Gear S2 Classic will be out in the US tomorrow

Last month, the two new Gear S2 Classic models Samsung unveiled at CES began their global rollout. And now this is about to take them to the US. Both the rose gold and the platinum Gear S2 will become available stateside tomorrow, for a recommended retail price of $449.99. You'll find them at Samsung's own online store, as well as at Best Buy, Amazon, Macy's, and other outlets in the country. Both smartwatches are only plated with the metal that's mentioned in their names, and not actually made out of a solid piece of it - hence the rather affordable pricing. You get an Ivory genuine leather band with the rose gold model, and a black genuine leather band with the platinum one. Spec-wise nothing has changed from the original Gear S2 Classic, so these models also have the same exact innards. We're talking about a 1.2-inch circular Super AMOLED touchscreen with 360x360 resolution, a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, IP68 certification for water and dust resistance, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, a bunch of sensors (including a heart rate monitor), and a 250 mAh battery with support for wireless...

Instagram will show how many times videos are watched

Just a few days ago, Instagram revealed that all its users would get to use multiple accounts inside its apps starting later this week. And today the Facebook-owned photography-focused social network is at it again, with yet another new feature being announced. It's something much simpler this time around, but should prove very useful for the content creators using Instagram. "Over the next few weeks", view counts for videos will be shown underneath them, as portrayed in the screenshots below. A view is registered once a video has been watched for at least three seconds. This introduction comes as apparently "views are the most widely expected form of feedback on video". The information about how many times a video was viewed will replace that about how many likes it's received. To get to the number of likes, you'll need to tap on the word "views". Instagram promises that this is only the first of many ways in which it plans to improve its handling of video content this year. Source |...

HTC One M10 camera specs leak

By all accounts, HTC's next flagship will skip MWC 2016 and possibly come out a bit later, on April 11, but the delay hasn't deterred eager fans and leaksters from gathering info on the handset. An new source now claims to have the inside scoop on the camera info of the handset, codenamed "Perfume". According to the info, the phone is going to have a 12 MP Sony IMX 377 sensor on the back with a pixel size of 1.55 um. It will be supported by laser autofocus as well as phase detection autofocus. As for the front camera, HTC is apparently referring to it as an UltraPixel one. However, its sensor is said to be a 5MP Samsung s5k4e6 one, which has 1.34µm pixel size - much smaller than the 2µm of the original UltraPixel cameras. OIS was previously said to appear in both the front and back shooter. HTC Perfume "UltraPixels":Main Camera - Sony IMX377 12MP 1.55um + Laser Autofocus + PDAFFront Camera - Samsung s5k4e6 5MP UltraPixel— LlabTooFeR (@LlabTooFeR) February 11, 2016 As far as we currently know, other specs on the One M10 include a QHD AMOLED display, with a diagonal of either 5.1 or 5.2 inches. The smartphone will be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipset, which will be aided by 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (of which around 23GB will be user-accessible). A microSD card slot will be available too. A fingerprint scanner is also suggested, most-likely in the home button below the screen. In terms of OS, it will most-likely boot Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with HTC Sense 8 on...

Marshmallow update is now rolling out for the original Moto 360 too

A few days ago Google announced the latest version of Android Wear, 1.4, which is based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, along with the new features this will bring to a smartwatch near you. Then, shortly after that, we saw the rollout of the update commence for the second-generation Moto 360. While that's still not reached all units, Motorola has also started pushing out the update to its first smartwatch, the original 360 from 2014. The image below confirms that at least some people have already received and installed it. The new software has support for more languages, screen dimming, new wrist gestures, Doze mode (which should improve battery life), manual settings for date and time, audio improvements for Bluetooth headsets, and the ability to send messages with your voice through popular third-party apps. As with all staged rollouts, it could still be a few days until every Moto 360 device out there pops up the coveted notification, so all that's required now is a bit of...

Samsung Pay launching in the UK and Spain "very soon"

Samsung Pay is expected to launch in the UK and Spain early this year. The head of Samsung Pay Europe revealed that the launch will be "very soon," but said the exact date and other details will be revealed at the MWC. The Samsung Galaxy S7, the start of Samsung's MWC show, will be unveiled on February 21 and we'll most likely see Pay piggyback on its media attention (the MWC is held in Spain, after all). Also in the first wave of expansion for this year is China, with Australia, Singapore and Brazil following later. It's not just the S7 that supports Samsung Pay, the new Galaxy A (2016) series does...

A free Samsung VR headset to come with each Galaxy S7 pre-order

Samsung Galaxy S7 is going to premiere at a special UNPACKED event at the MWC next week. It has been in Rumorland for quite some time and the speculations have gone wild throughout the past few days. Samsung is also keen on getting a piece of the growing VR market, and as suggested by Rory O'Neill, Vice President Brand & Product Manager of Samsung Electronics, most of the VR content will be in fact produced by the consumers. That's why Samsung will be offering a free Gear VR headset with each Galaxy S7 smartphone or at least in the Netherlands. As per some reports Samsung Netherlands will be throwing a free Gear VR headset with each Galaxy S7 pre-order placed between February 21 and March 10. The Galaxy S7 is going to be unveiled on February 21, which means it will go on pre-order in Europe on the very same day. It's unclear whether this promotion will expand to other markets, but if Samsung wants some nice share of the VR universe, the logic says yes. In just a few days the Galaxy S7 will say ‘hi' from Barcelona for the first time. Naturally, we'll be there to cover the event for you as it unfolds. Source 1 • Source 2 • Source...

Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC unveiled, LG already working on smartwatches

Qualcomm's on fire today. Not only has the US chipmaker announced 3 smartphone SoC's, but it's also followed up with a brand new platform for wearables, dubbed the Snapdragon Wear. The sole chip in the new range at this point is the Snapdragon Wear 2100, bringing significant improvements over the so far default smartwatch choice, the Snapdragon 400. The dedicated solution for smart devices you'll be strapping to you wrist or chest this year is 30% smaller in physical size than the S400, enabling more compact designs and thinner wearables. It also boasts 25% better power efficiency than the old model. The Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset packs a quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU clocked at up to 1.2GHz, and its Adreno 304 GPU (featured in some of the 200-series chips) can feed displays up to 640x480 pixels at up to 60Hz. Two versions of the chip will be available, one tethered (Bluetooth/Wi-Fi only), the other - connected, with full 2G/3G/LTE cellular connectivity. The chip also supports NFC and GPS, and comes with Quick Charge 2.0 capabilities. LG was also keen to point out the collaboration between the two companies in the field. Wearables branch vice president David Yoon indicated that the Korean giant is already working on smartwatches, but also other wearables, to be launched later this year. Source 1 Source 2 Source...

Qualcomm announces new Snapdragon 625, 435 and 425 chipsets

Here's the mid-range chipset from Qualcomm that we've been waiting for, the Snapdragon 625. The company also brought faster LTE connectivity to the 400-series with the 425 and 435. Snapdragon 625 Despite its low model number, the S625 is the first 600-series chipset to be built on a power-efficient 14nm process. This allows its eight Cortex-A53 cores to be clocked at over 2GHz. This is also the third 600-class chip (after the 650, 652) to record 4K video (with both AVC and HEVC codecs); it also supports up to 24MP cameras with its dual ISP. It's paired with an X9 modem for Cat. 7 LTE - up to 300Mbps downloads and 150Mbps uploads. The chipset also supports Wi-Fi ac. Other goodies include an Adreno 506 GPU and Quick Charge 3.0. The only limiting factor is the display support - the Snapdragon 625 tops out at 1,900 x 1,200 at 60fps or 1080p at 30fps. So, we won't see it in QHD flagships, but premium mid-rangers are about to get better. You can expect new devices with the 625 in the second half of this year. Finally, Qualcomm mentioned that the 625 uses up to 35% less power than its Snapdragon 617 predecessor, so all the goodies won't cost you anything in terms of battery life. Snapdragon 435 This one is built on the old 28nm process, so its eight Cortex-A53 cores top out at 1.4GHz. Also, it comes with Adreno 505 GPU and supports displays up to 1080p at 60fps. It's still a solid offering with an X8 modem (Cat. 7 for 300Mbps down, 100Mbps up), Wi-Fi ac and Quick Charge 3.0. This is the first 400-series chipset with Cat. 7 LTE. The S435 chipset supports 1080p video recording (AVC and HEVC) from 21MP cameras. Snapdragon 425 A small difference in model number, a huge difference in hardware. The Snapdragon 425 chipset has a quad-core processor, Cortex-A53 up to 1.4GHz (28nm build), and an old Adreno 308 (which means no OpenGL ES 3.1 support). Display support is capped at 1,280 x 800 at 60fps. At least you get to keep the 1080p video capture (max camera resolution is 16MP, though). The Snapdragon 425 uses an older X6 modem, which puts its maximum speeds at Cat. 4 levels - 150Mbps down, 75Mbps up. You still get Wi-Fi ac. Quick Charge version 2.0 is supported. Both the Snapdragon 435 and the 425 are pin-compatible with last year's S430, so phone-makers have an easy upgrade path to the new chipsets. X16 modem You may have glossed over the modem designations, but to compare it quickly to the high end, the upcoming Snapdragon 820 chipset has an X12 chipset. It boasts download speeds of up to 600Mbps. Today Qualcomm also announced the X16 - the first modem to reach 1Gbps (that's 1,000Mbps) download speeds. It's also the first modem to be built on a 14nm process (the X12 is at 20nm). This modem won't arrive in consumer devices until 2017 though. Anyway, the X16 modem also supports LTE-U, aka LTE-Unlicensed, which operates in the 5GHz spectrum, sharing room with household...

Right to be forgotten to expand over all Google domains

Google offers the ‘right to be forgotten' option for all EU citizens, by EU regulations. If a person asks Google to remove all information about him, Google is obliged to remove any references and information from its search engine. As this rule applies to EU citizens and for the EU only, Google scrubs such information only from its .fr, .co.uk, .bg, .de, and similar EU Google Search domains. This allowed for an easy workaround - just open Google.com or any other non-EU Google Search website and repeat the search string. This is about to change in just a few days, though. Google is going to address this workaround, and the ‘right to be forgotten' rule will apply to all Google domains when used within the EU (detected by IP address). Soon, the only way to see results under the ‘right to be forgotten' rule will require you to be out of the EU or use a proxy server. According to BBC, Google will apply the new rules in mid-February and if some information is under the ‘right to be forgotten' rule it won't be accessed by any Google Search engine invoked within the EU borders. Source •...

HTC One M10 render shows its hybrid One M9 and A9 looks

As expected, the HTC One M10 will break away from the old M-design and inherit that of the One A9. We had a peek at a murky photo a week ago, but now we can gawk at smooth 3D renders. The M10 does look quite a bit like the A9 with its flat back with beveled sides. One noticeable change is that the camera is below the top antenna line, just like it was on the previous M models. You can see the laser focus element below the flash. The big camera on the front will reportedly be quite impressive too. One disappointing feature of the A9 was also brought over to the One M10 - no stereo speakers, not on the front, not on the back. On the plus side, the HTC logo below the screen, the one that needlessly took up vertical space, is gone. Now the M10 is expected to be the same size as the A9, despite the slightly bigger screen. HTC One M10 (leak) • HTC One A9 • HTC One M9 The phone is expected to have a 5.1" QHD AMOLED screen, a Snapdragon 820 chipset and a 12MP UltraPixel camera. The updated Sense UI is expected to be much closer to stock Android. The HTC One M10 may not show up at the MWC, but it should launch on April 11. Source |...

Put the Alcatel Idol 4s back in the package for a VR experience

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 4s was recently accidentally listed on the company's website, revealing all specs ahead of the alleged MWC announcement. What it didn't tell was that the upcoming smartphone will come bundled with a VR headset. Or rather, inside one. The retail packaging of the Idol 4s will double as a Google Cardboard-style rig, only made of plastic. Having in mind that Samsung sells one of these (the Gear VR) for $99 or $199, depending on generation, the inclusion of a VR headset with the smartphone is a nice touch, especially considering its alleged sub-$400 price point. The Idol 4s will also have the hardware to facilitate its VR use - a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display, Snapdragon 652 and 3GB of RAM. There will also be a 16MP/8MP camera combo, each with a flash, and the reversible design of the Idol 3 will be taken to the next level. Source |...

TSMC allegedly to be the sole manufacturer of iPhone 7 processor

According to a report by South Korea's The Electronic Times, TSMC is to become the sole supplier for the next generation AX processor in the upcoming iPhone 7. According to the report, TSMC won the contract with Apple over Samsung due to its more efficient 10nm manufacturing process, and is expected to go in full production in June. Both TSMC and Samsung are the suppliers for the A9 processor in the iPhone 6s. Unfortunately for Samsung, users noticed differences in heating and battery life between the chipsets from the two companies, with the TSMC one coming out the better of the two. This wouldn't be the first time Apple went with just TSMC. After a long time of relying on Samsung to supply its chips, Apple switched to TSMC for the A8 and A8X, and even the A9 would have been made entirely by TSMC had Samsung not stolen TSMC's trade secrets, which is said to have helped the company get the contract with Apple. With the A10, TSMC is likely to be the sole supplier for Apple, assuming it can keep up with the demand. Source •...

Samsung closing in on Apple in the US

Parks Associates's latest report on the sate of the US mobile market reveals a few interesting facts. Perhaps most intriguing is the reduced gap between the two titans in the realm - Apple and Samsung. The former currently controls 40% of the local mobile market, but the Korean giant is quickly catching up with 31%. Samsung's US expansion is definitely impressive, but other foreign OEM's are exhibiting the same trend, although on a much smaller scale. Third place on the list goes to LG, with 10% market share and other major brand names, like Motorola and HTC have about 5% reach, combined. On a global scale, Samsung still led the race in 2015, with a total of 324.8 million units shipped, leaving Cupertino at second place with about 231.5 million sales. Another interesting trend, unearthed in the Parks Associates's research concerns smartphone upgrade cycles. The numbers show that about a third of iOS users still own a handset that is more than two years old, while only 30% of Samsung users are on a device as dated. This could be interpreted as a testament to the futureproofing of Apple handsets, but it might also have to do with carrier efforts to shorten hardware upgrade cycles as much as possible and encourage more frequent sales. Operators are pulling out all the tricks to encourage phone upgrades... The once-familiar two-year contract, which tied consumers to a two-year phone upgrade cycle, is gradually fading. U.S. carriers started to do away with two-year contracts in 2012, and by the third quarter of 2015, only 51% of mobile consumers had a contract, down from almost 70% at the end 2011. A few other curious statistic from the report state that: More than 70% of smartphone users now watch short streaming video clips, and more than 40% watch long streaming videos on their device. Almost 40% of smartphone users use the voice recognition function; among iPhone users, more than half have used Siri. 36% use Wi-Fi calling 35% stream music from the phone to speakers 26% use a payment app for purchases at a retail location 24% stream video from the phone to a second screen (e.g., TV, PC, etc.) Source |...

Get a free Galaxy S6 with any current Samsung flagship on AT&T

A great time to get a nice deal on the outgoing Samsung Galaxy S6 flagship, now that the Galaxy S7 is right around the corner. An unlocked Galaxy S6 is now going for $450 in the US, but if you're on AT&T and looking for a contract, you can can get one for free. Of course, that's the marketing talk, and the reality is somewhat different. First off, you need to buy one of the current Samsung top-shelf models (the Galaxy S6 itself, S6 edge, S6 edge+, S6 active or Note5), and then also activate a second line. The primary line must be on an AT&T Next plan $70 or up, while the new one gets an AT&T Next 24 subscription (effectively a 30-month commitment). Three bill payments into the subscription AT&T will start waiving the monthly installments for the second smartphone up to $30/month for a total of $595, rendering it "free". Reading the tiny text also reveals that the offer applies not only to the Galaxy S6, but also to the S6 active, and other select Samsung models. It's then your best bet to contact AT&T directly if you want to get a different combo. The offer expires in March 31, and is void in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Miami-Dade. Source |...

Marshmallow update for Android Wear promises battery boost

With a little over 1% penetration, Android 6.0 Marshmallow is still very much a rarity within the mobile realm and an illusive update most users are still waiting on. But it appears you handset won't be the only device to benefit from the update, Android Wear units will eventually get a taste of Marshmallow goodness as well and with potential major benefits. One of the main expected consequences of the new OS is improved battery life for the wearables. As most of you surely remember, Doze is a key feature of Android 6.0 and it appears it will be carried over to the wearable version as well. We can't really say how much this will extend average battery life, which currently sits at around two days, depending on usage, as well as how it will play with always on mode enabled. Still, there is bound to be at least some improvement, so we'll take it. As for availability, we understand that last generation Moto 360 watches already ship with the new Wear 1.4 OS. As for other devices, it appears a rollout has been in progress for a few days now, but no official update schedule has been provided. It is also worth noting that the new update brings support for speakers and making calls (currently limited to the Huawei Watch and the 49mm Asus ZenWatch 2, which have a built-in speaker), as well as a number of new gestures and voice...

Microsoft cutting more jobs from its struggling mobile division

Back in July last year, Microsoft announced that up to 7,800 employees will be laid off globally, with majority of those working in the company's phone business. Now, there are reports that the software giant is cutting "dozens" of more jobs from its mobile division. While the exact number isn't yet known, it has been confirmed that this new round of layoffs is not part of the move announced in July. Also, those being laid off now are said to be part of the marketing team working with the company's mobile subsidiary in Finland. The news comes nearly a couple of weeks after the Redmond, Washington-based company released its Q2 fiscal 2016 earnings report, revealing that only 4.5 million Lumia phones were sold in the last quarter of 2015, down from the 10.5 million reported in Q4,...

HTC One M10 tipped to go on sale in US in May

While we already know that HTC's upcoming flagship smartphone will be unveiled in London on April 11, there has been no word on its US launch. That, however, was until now, as the usually reliable tipster @evleaks has revealed that the phone will go on sale in the US in the second week of May. HTC M10: Hitting US retail the week of May 9th— Evan Blass (@evleaks) February 11, 2016 As you might already know, the name One M10 is also not final, with latest rumors suggesting that the 'M10' will be ditched in favor of some other (yet unknown) moniker. The 'One' brand, however, isn't going anywhere. Its rumored specs include SD820/unspecified Mediatek SoC (depending on the region), 5.1" QHD AMOLED screen, 4GB RAM, and 12MP UltraPixel rear camera with optical image stabilization and laser-assisted AF. In terms of OS, it is said to run Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with HTC Sense...

Unlocked LG G4 down to $350 in the US, again

If you recall, US retailer B&H Photo was offering the LG G4 for around $350 last month. That promo, however, was only for a day. For those who missed that deal, here is some good news: the retailer is selling the device at the same price, again. Shelling out $349.95 will net you an unlocked LG G4 unit which is fully compatible with GSM carriers in the US. The model comes with a black leather back cover. Other third party retailers like Amazon are currently selling the device at much higher rates. This latest price cut comes just over a week before the South Korean company is set to unveil the G4's successor - the...

Lenovo K4 Note to go on open sale starting next week

Lenovo has announced that its K4 Note smartphone - which was unveiled early last month in India and went on sale in the country a couple of weeks later - will be available for purchase without registrations. 1.1 M Regs and 180,000 phones sold! Announcing an open sale from 15thFeb + a new color, Pearl White! Stocks Limited pic.twitter.com/gkDcxa395o— Lenovo India (@Lenovo_in) February 10, 2016 An Amazon exclusive, the device was being sold through flash sales until now. The Chinese company claims to have received 1.1 million registrations for the handset, with 180,000 units sold so far. The open sale begins next week - February 15 to be precise. In addition, Lenovo has announced that the K4 Note will now also be available in Pearl White color option. The phone was only available in black until...